Romsey Ecotherapy Park in the spotlight
An aerial view of Romsey Ecotherapy Park, which received the Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s Connecting Communities Award on Australia Day.
By Max Davis
Romsey Ecotherapy Park will soon be holding its ‘Party in the Park’ to celebrate the park’s opening after 14 years of development.
The park officially opened last October with the original party-in-the-park celebrations scheduled for late November, but severe weather forced the event to be postponed to February 12.
Now with optimal weather forecast and performers, performers and musicians prepared, the community is invited to join the free celebrations and recognize the completion of the park and the efforts of the Romsey Ecotherapy Park Committee.
Committee member Jenny Stillman said the party at the park is not just a celebration for the park’s contributors, but for the entire community.
“Since it was such a long time coming, we thought it would be good to do some sort of celebration to mark the milestone and have everyone together,” she said.
“It’s not just a celebration of the park, it’s a celebration for the whole community. There are so many different areas and things in the park that people of all ages can enjoy and appreciate.”
Fourteen years ago, a small group of members of the Romsey community, now known as Romsey Ecotherapy Park Inc, came together with a vision to transform a neglected historic school campus into a regionally significant place to promote health and wellness in nature for people of all ages and… every ability to improve .
The site on the corner of Palmer Street and Main Street in Romsey was later purchased by the Macedon Ranges Shire Council from the state government, with a federal government funded active nature space for younger children and a state government funded climbing forest for older children and young adults who are keen completed in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The remainder of Romsey Ecotherapy Park was funded jointly by Bendigo Bank, State Government through Regional Development Victoria and the Macedon Ranges Shire Council, enabling the construction of the Sensory Therapy Room, Arts Culture Room and Forest Walk.
The construction of the park was completed in mid-2022.
“We started as a group of people with young children trying to set up a play space,” Ms. Stillman said.
“In the beginning it was pretty tough. We’ve hosted bratwurst and ran booths at local events just to keep the group going.
“We didn’t have a website back then, so it was difficult to get funding and support because it was difficult to show people what we were up to.”
With the park now complete, the committee is expected to disband this year and be replaced by a group from the Friends of Romsey Ecotherapy Park to continue to liaise with the council on future ideas.
The Party in the Park will be held at Romsey Ecotherapy Park at 140 Main Street on Sunday February 12 from 1pm to 5pm, with live music, food trucks, storytelling and a chance to meet the artists making the park’s sculptures.
For more information, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/romseyecotherapypark.
The Romsey Ecotherapy Park committee received the Connecting Communities Award from the Macedon Ranges Shire Council, presented at the annual Australia Day Awards in Kyneton on Thursday.
The Connecting Communities Award is presented to a group that has made a significant contribution to community life, either through physical or social connections that enhance the lives of community members and contribute to a sense of belonging.
The park committee was nominated by a member of the community for their contributions through the physical activities and features of Romsey Ecotherapy Park, as well as for their promotion of social connections between people of all ages.
“We are truly honored to be selected for the award, it is a testament to the faith and resilience that went into making the project a reality,” said Ms. Stillman.
“The lesson is that if you have a vision and you can prove it and believe in it and hold out for as long as it takes, it will happen.”
Other Macedon Ranges Shire Council Australia Day award winners were the Healthy People and Environment Award: Woodend Masters Football Club and Friends of Daly Nature Reserve; Business and Tourism Award: Matthew Barry, Woodend; Citizen of the Year: Sue Anderson, Gisborne.